The best barbecue places serve up pie. And many of the best places for barbecue around here serve up sweet potato pie. Those notes tend to resonate well together.
Lindsey’s Hospitality House in North Little Rock offers some of the best sweet potato pie in Arkansas, right alongside some unabashedly rugged ‘cue.
I dropped in a short time back to pick up a family pack to take home. Barbecue had been requested and I was in the area. It was going to take some doing to get the $20 family pack together all fresh and natural-like, so I asked for some of that yummy looking pie in the case.
I had a seat in the nearly empty dining room while I waited and ate that dang sweet potato pie. It was so different from the really sweet and really tangy pies served around these parts. It wasn’t especially sweet. It was almost meaty. It was a mouth filling, strong flavored pie that about whomped me upside the head with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves, a real working-man’s pie guaranteed to satisfy any remnants of an appetite left over from a good lunch.
So I get my brown paper bag full of barbecue and take it home. I unpack it… half a loaf of bread, a pint of beans, a pint of slaw, a pint of potato salad. There are other sides available — but on the family pack there’s no substitution. The beans were a stewed sort, like pork n’ beans in a thin barbecue sauce. The potato salad? Mustardy. The coleslaw? A little sweet, firm and not too runny.
And then there was the meat. I’d ordered up a pound of barbecue beef, and I had smelled it all the way home. It’s put in a paper boat, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil, wrapped over again in a paper sack and placed in the bottom of another paper sack and there were still grease drops forming on the bottom of the bag by the time I left the restaurant. Lindsey’s unashamedly allows its barbecue to come to you in the natural state, without a lot of paper towels or soaking up of this or that. When spooned onto white bread with some coleslaw, as God intended, it soaks into the bread. You have a limited time to get that sandwich to your mouth before it starts to disintegrate.
It’s not sweet. It’s not obnoxiously peppery and it’s not undersmoked. It’s hearty and savory and that coleslaw gives it the perfect counterpoint of texture to make a good sandwich.
I do have to tell you, I have had the candied yams before — and they’re fabulous but sweeter than that sweet potato pie. The steamed cabbage is excellent, and the fried chicken is crispy. And there are always pies of some sort about — fried pies in peach, apple or chocolate and slices of pie in coconut and pecan… and sweet potato. Get you some.
You’ll find Lindsey’s Hospitality House at 207 Curtis Sykes Drive in North Little Rock, not too far from the bead place in Argenta off Main Street. It’s open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday, til 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and until 8 p.m. on Saturday. Like all good family barbecue restaurants in the South, it’s closed on Sunday. (501) 374-5707 or check out the website.